Transportation board to tour Treasure Valley projects

Highway construction projects in the Treasure Valley plowed through the winter undeterred by a bitter-cold January. Idaho Transportation Board members will check on the progress of several major projects as a prelude to Wednesday’s monthly business meeting at Headquarters.

Tuesday afternoon, the board will visit the Idaho 16 extension project. The GARVEE project to extend Idaho 16 south to U.S. 20/26 is well under way. Some road work and construction of structures across the Boise River and Phyllis Canal started last year. The next step, connecting the highways with the local roads on both ends of the project, is expected to start next month.

As part of the board excursion, members also will visit the department’s first design-build project – improvements to the Idaho 44 and Linder Road intersection.

Wednesday, the board will tour Western Trailers and Western Aircraft. Aeronautics Advisory Board Member Colleen Back works at Western Aircraft and invited the board to tour the facility and learn more about the aviation industry.

Western Aircraft provides maintenance, aircraft sales, avionics sales and installation, aircraft parts sales, fixed-base operation services, airline fueling, aircraft charters, and aircraft management. It began as the corporate flight department for the Morrison Knudsen Corp. (MK), which was founded in Boise more than 60 years ago. MK eventually became Washington Group International and now URS.

Other board agenda items

Freight Advisory Committee Charter
The board will be asked to approve the proposed charter for the Freight Advisory Committee (FAC), which is being created as a result of the Idaho Freight Study completed in 2012. Its purpose is to serve as a forum for discussing freight movement and freight infrastructure within Idaho; educate freight stakeholders regarding local, regional and statewide transportation planning processes; provide access to improved freight data and a more consistent set of data; work with ITD to incorporate freight interests into transportation planning to improve freight infrastructure; and improve statewide understanding of the importance of freight transportation.

The recommendation to the transportation board is to appoint 13 members representing:

  • the rail industry
  • the highway/trucking industry
  • aeronautics
  • the port/barge industry
  • the agricultural industry, including one representative each from Idaho’s top three products
  • the natural resource industry, with one representative each from producers of the top two Idaho products
  • manufacturing/retail
  • carrier/shipping
  • freight logistics/warehousing
  • a member at large

Representatives from federal and state governments and metropolitan planning organizations will be invited as ex-officio members.

Strategic Highway Safety Plan
The Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) is a data-driven, comprehensive plan that includes goals, emphasis areas and strategies to reduce traffic deaths and serious injuries. It focuses resources on education, enforcement, engineering and emergency response. The document is being updated to revise emphasis areas, incorporate new goals, include emphasis area teams to work on the specific contributors to traffic deaths and serious injuries, develop actions and track completed projects, build and empower partnerships and require evaluations.

In November, more than 100 highway safety partners met to develop goals and strategies for the highway safety focus areas, resulting in the updated SHSP. ITD staff members expect to seek approval of the SHSP in April.

City of Mullan Sewer District
A project to replace a 77-year-old bridge on the Interstate 90 Business Route in Mullan requires the relocation of utilities in the city at an estimated cost of $16,000. The city of Mullan Sewer budget does not have sufficient funds to relocate the sanitary sewer line and manholes in the project impact area. Because of the hardship the project is creating, the city of Mullan requests financial assistance to relocate the utilities.

The board will consider the request. Federal funds could be used for the work.

Published 3-15-13